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3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry
Flag of North Carolina (1861–1865).svg
North Carolina state flag circa 1864
Active June 11, 1864 to August 8, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance United States Union
Branch Mounted Infantry
Engagements Raid on Camp Vance
Bull's Gap
The Battle of Red Banks
Raid on Waynesville, NC
Stoneman's Raid.[1]

The 3rd North Carolina (Volunteer) Mounted Infantry (3rd NCMI) was an all-volunteer mounted infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was predominantly composed of Union Loyalists from North Carolina and Tennessee, but also included volunteers from several other Southern states.

The 3rd NCMI, under the command of Colonel George Washington Kirk, became associated with unconventional and guerrilla-like tactics. Consequently, the regiment became known as Kirk's Raiders and the men were labeled bushwackers.[2] The members of the regiment were also known as mountaineers because the majority of the men hailed from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.

Service[edit | edit source]

February 1864 - Formation[edit | edit source]

The 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry was formed by Special Order Number 44, on February 13, 1864, when Major General John Schofield ordered Major George W. Kirk to raise 200 men to "... descend upon the rear of the rebel army under [Gen. James] Longstreet and destroy as much as possible of his stores and means of transportation ... [Y]ou will move along the railroad into Virginia, damaging the road as much as possible by burning bridges, trestle-work, water tanks, cars, etc., and by tearing up the track ..."[3]

From June, 1864 until February, 1865, the 3NCMI was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, Department of Ohio. From March, 1865 until August, 1865 the regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District East Tennessee, Department of the Cumberland.[4]

June 1864 - Raid on Camp Vance[edit | edit source]

Camp Vance, near Morganton, North Carolina, was a training camp for Confederate conscripts.[5] The 3rd NCMI easily captured the camp, but did not achieve its primary mission to destroy the railroad bridge over the Yadkin River north of Salisbury, North Carolina.[6]

September 1864 - Bulls Gap[edit | edit source]

December 1864 - Battle of Red Banks[edit | edit source]

February 1865 - Raid on Waynesville[edit | edit source]

Following is the inscription from the North Carolina Civil Wars Trail Marker that can be found in Maggie Valley, Haywood County, North Carolina - "On February 1, 1865, Col. George Kirk, 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry (U.S.), left Newport, Tennessee, with 400 cavalry and 200 infantry for a raid into Haywood County. He passed through the mountains at Mount Sterling, following the Cataloochee Turnpike up Jonathan Creek Valley to Waynesville. While in the valley, his men killed former Confederates Absolom B. Carver and James E. Rice. Kirk and his raiders also burned the home of Young Bennett in Cataloochee and then burned a school that served as a makeshift hospital for ailing Confederate soldiers.

Kirk reached Waynesville on February 4 and sacked the town, ordering his men to burn the home of Revolutionary War hero Colonel Robert Love. The raiders also opened the Waynesville jail, liberated its prisoners (mostly local Unionists confined by Confederate authorities), and destroyed the building. After wreaking havoc on the village of Waynesville, Kirk marched his troops toward Tennessee and camped at Balsam Gap, where a small contingent of Home Guards and farmers attacked the raiders. Kirk retreated first to Waynesville and then to Soco Gap. As Kirk approached Soco Gap, Lt. Robert T. Conley's sharpshooters of Thomas's Legion attacked. Kirk ordered a swift retreat to Balsam Gap, where the Federals escaped into Tennessee less than a week after the raid began".

There is also a sidebar on the monument that deals with a resident of the area. That is also quoted here - "In 1863, local resident Solomon Finger enlisted in Co. E, 29th North Carolina Infantry, at age 44, leaving his wife and five young children at home. He was captured on July 22, 1864, during the Battle of Atlanta and imprisoned in Camp Chase, Ohio. When a flu epidemic later struck Maggie Valley, he was informed by telegram that all five of his children had died. Released at the end of the war, Finger survived a walk of more than 100 miles and a murder attempt during his long journey home. He and his wife, Eliza, later had four more children. Finger and his entire family are buried nearby".

March 1865 - Stoneman's Raid[edit | edit source]

In support of Major General George H. Stoneman's order to disrupt railroads in Southwest Virginia and North Carolina, Kirk and his men were assigned to hold Deep and Watauga Gaps near Boone, North Carolina. This was necessary to keep the mountain roads open for Stoneman's men when their mission was complete.[7]

August 1865 - Discharge[edit | edit source]

The regiment was mustered out on August 8, 1865.

Total strength and casualties[edit | edit source]

There were 960 men in the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry throughout the war. Sixteen were confirmed killed in action, and 23 were captured.[2]

Commanders[8][edit | edit source]

  • Colonel George Washington Kirk (originally a Major, became Lieutenant Colonel; September 20, 1864, Colonel; March 14, 1865)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Hubbard
  • Major William W. Rollins
  • Captain John W. Edwards
  • Captain Laban W. McInturff
  • Captain William W. Moore
  • Captain Robert J. Morrison
  • Captain John H. Ray
  • Captain Stephen Street
  • Captain William B. Underwood

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Bumgarner, Matthew. 2000. Kirk's Raiders; A Notorious Band of Scoundrels and Thieves. Piedmont Press, LLC.
  • Killian, Ron V. A History of the North Carolina Third Mounted Infantry Volunteers U.S.A; March 1864 to August 1865, Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2008.
  • Tipton, A. Christine. 2000. Civil War in the Mountains; Greasy Cove, Tennessee. Shining Mountain Publishers.

Citations and Notes[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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